After a poor performance against Tottenham, Arsenal had another tough game against Brentford.
Players and manager alike were under pressure to get back to winning ways. On Wednesday night, they did just that.
The Carabao Cup game was certainly not Arsenal’s finest. They were under heavy pressure throughout the match, particularly in the second half. Brentford did well to attack relentlessly but Arsenal also did well to defend bravely.
3 standout Arsenal players from Carabao Cup win at Brentford
3 players in particular stood out on the night.
1. Takehiro Tomiyasu
A few fans were quick to forget about Takehiro Tomiyasu’s level during his layoff. After being one of Arsenal’s best players in his first season at the club, injuries derailed his time in the squad. He has been working up to his best and his performance against Brentford will go a long way to restoring his confidence.
He started at centre-back, alongside Gabriel Magalhaes. Immediately, he reminded us of his all-around playstyle. Tall, athletic and comfortable with both feet, he was crucial in defending the lead. He asserted himself aerially while throwing himself into blocks when needed.
With Jurrien Timber out for months, Tomiyasu will be needed. His versatility, along with his ability, will also allow him to push for more minutes as the season continues.
2. Emile Smith Rowe
Like Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe has been somewhat of a forgotten figure. The Carabao Cup tie was the first game he has started in 499 days. Yet he reminded Arsenal fans why Arteta gave him the number 10 shirt. Starting at right central midfield, his technical security allowed Arsenal to mount pressure in the opening half. Even more importantly, it was his off-the-ball runs into the box that breathed fresh life into the Arsenal attack.
Smith Rowe’s challenges also reared their head. It will take him some time to build up his fitness and form. Arteta will certainly be watching and managing him carefully. With Kai Havertz’s continued struggles and Fabio Vieira’s acclimation still ongoing, Smith Rowe could very quickly force his way into the starting lineup again.
With Declan Rice still injured, Jorginho started. With thoughts of his giveaway against Tottenham still fresh, he would have been keen to help his team to a win. He did much more than that against Brentford.
As one of the senior players, Jorginho did well and showed his experience. He proved to be calm on the ball, moving it around quickly while retaining possession when needed. He was also surprisingly combative off the ball. Attack after attack for Brentford broke down as Jorginho shielded his backline.
Although Rice’s injury is not thought to be serious, starting Jorginho on the weekend could allow the former West Ham man to rest for a few more days. With Manchester City on the horizon, allowing Rice to properly recover would be a prudent move indeed.
Arsenal pushed past a resilient Brentford side with a heavily rotated squad. The depth at the club is high and multiple players will be pushing for starting berths. Hopefully, Arsenal can continue their momentum against Bournemouth on the weekend.